Housing is an area where most people, including the professionals who work in the construction industry, are oblivious to detrimental health effects from poorly designed and built housing. There is a common misconception that housing that is built to code must be healthy, as very little of the building inspector’s work concerns the health effects of the house on its inhabitants. As most North Americans spend upwards of 80% of their time indoors, having an understanding of how indoor air quality, lighting, and other environmental factors can affect inhabitants and users is a priority in our design philosophy.
Simpler, less polluting solutions can be found and the resulting buildings will make for safer, healthier homes that can nurture their inhabitants. Sheet goods that offgas formaldehyde, foam insulation made with isocyanates, and PVC made with lead that offgases chlorine and whose production creates dioxins are not on our list of suggested building materials. We can cater for people with chemical sensitivities and anyone wishing to reduce the potential environmental stress load of their home.
One of the principal building strategies we employ is the use of vapour permeable wall systems which helps to manage air quality and mitigate mould and moisture issues inside the home.
Sean Breathnach is a certified Bau Biologie Practitioner.